German ship carrying weapons stopped off coast of Syria | News | DW | 14.04.2012
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German ship carrying weapons stopped off coast of Syria

A German-owned vessel carrying a shipment of Iranian weapons headed for Syria has been intercepted, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel.

A German vessel, the "Atlantic Cruiser," reportedly headed for Syria, was stopped 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the Syrian port of Tartus on Friday after a tip-off that it was carrying weapons destined for President Bashar Assad's army.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported the incident Saturday on its website, adding that the ship had been carrying Iranian weapons and munitions and was being leased to a Ukrainian company called White Whale Shipping.

Torsten Lüddecke, a shipping agent with C.E.G Bulk Chartering, who had overseen the loading of the ship, said "the company declared a cargo of pumps and the like … we would have never allowed a shipment of weapons."

According to reports, the ship, owned by Emden-based Bockstiegel, had loaded arms in Djibouti which had been brought there by a vessel from Iran, which is under a UN weapons embargo.

In light of Assad's bloody crackdown on civilians, the UN imposed a weapons embargo against Syria almost a year ago.

According to Der Speigel, the Atlantic Cruiser was now headed for the Turkish port of Iskunderun.

sb/ng (AFP, AP, dpa, Der Spiegel)